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International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA)

Why is it in the news?

  • The Cabinet has approved the establishment of the International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA) with its headquarters in India.

 More about the news

  • The IBCA was launched in April 2023, commemorating the 50th year of Project Tiger.
  • The primary aim of IBCA is to strengthen global cooperation for the conservation of seven big cat species, including the tiger, lion, leopard, snow leopard, cheetah, jaguar, and puma, along with their habitats.
  • India, which is home to five out of the seven big cat species (excluding puma and jaguar), has provided initial support of Rs. 150 crores for a five-year period spanning from 2023-24 to 2027-28.
  • The alliance comprises 96 big cat range countries, non-range countries interested in big cat conservation, conservation partners, and related scientific organizations.
  • Funding for IBCA will be sought from various sources including bilateral and multilateral agencies, public sector organizations, and other contributors.
  • The governance structure of IBCA includes an Assembly of Members, Standing Committee, and Secretariat.

Protecting big cats and their habitats is significant for various reasons:

  • They play a crucial role in balancing ecosystems by acting as top predators in the food chain.
  • Big cat habitats, such as the Himalayas (home to snow leopards), are vital for water security as they are the source of major rivers in Asia.
  • Conservation efforts also contribute to mitigating climate change by protecting forest landscapes that store carbon.
  • Big cats are culturally significant, with numerous faiths and folktales built around them worldwide.
  • Conservation efforts support the economy by providing livelihood opportunities and promoting ecotourism.

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